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Crunch
10-05-2019, 06:02 PM
Hi
I'm building a Cnc router with dual gantry stepper motors, I can change design to belt drive to get gantry correction if needed but would prefer dual steppers for simplicity.

Can you recommend which controller to use, or direct me to a good link to help me choose.
Is there a common controller used by most?

I was planning on using Mach 3 as there is a big support group and lots of set up videos.
It don't have to be Mach 3 so any advise would be great.
I've read a few posts but as its all new to me I don't really know what features I'm looking for.

The only thing that is important to me is the support, so one that is well used in the community and I can get the help where needed.
Any information would be appreciated .
Regards Paul

Chaz
10-05-2019, 10:59 PM
Hi
I'm building a Cnc router with dual gantry stepper motors, I can change design to belt drive to get gantry correction if needed but would prefer dual steppers for simplicity.

Can you recommend which controller to use, or direct me to a good link to help me choose.
Is there a common controller used by most?

I was planning on using Mach 3 as there is a big support group and lots of set up videos.
It don't have to be Mach 3 so any advise would be great.
I've read a few posts but as its all new to me I don't really know what features I'm looking for.

The only thing that is important to me is the support, so one that is well used in the community and I can get the help where needed.
Any information would be appreciated .
Regards Paul

Centroid Acorn. Mach 3 is slowly dying. Ive done Mach 3 and now all my retrofits are Acorn, will never do Mach again.

m_c
11-05-2019, 12:09 AM
For something basic(ish) and not needing anything special, I'd say either a standalone controller (DDCSV), UCNC, or Centroid Acorn.

If you're wanting to do more advanced things, which by the sounds of it you're not, then you'd need to decide on what features you need in a controller, then see what controllers can provide those features.

I'll also echo Chaz, in saying I wouldn't use Mach on any new machines. I only have one machine left that still needs it, but even that I'm gradually working on software so I don't need Mach.

routercnc
11-05-2019, 10:57 AM
Iím not going to argue against the standalone controllers, UCNC or Acorn as from what I have seen and read they are great options.
I just wanted to add that Iíve been using Mach3 for years and years on an old offline PC using the parallel port into a free breakout board and have not had any issues that I can recall.
I might be making simple parts perhaps, or only running at a hobby pace but Iím pretty happy with it. I made the current CNC machine with it for example.
They used to have a free version with limited gcode (500 lines) to get you going. Having said that it if stopped working I would review my options.

Ger21
11-05-2019, 12:30 PM
UCCNC with their new AXBB-E controller.
You can use Mach3 with it if you want, but UCCNC is far superior and $125 cheaper.
CNC Drive has a UCCNC forum, with a lot of former longtime Mach3 users.

Crunch
11-05-2019, 12:57 PM
Does it have gantry correction or a way to correct gantry?


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Kitwn
11-05-2019, 02:07 PM
Paul,

The controller, unlike the rest of the machine, is just about the only area where you can spend next to nothing up front and then upgrade later. This frees up your starting budget for getting the best hardware you can afford. Obviously if you have plenty in the piggy bank already this is not relevant!

Probably the cheapest controller is to use LinuxCNC loaded onto an old Windows XP era computer with a parallel port and a Chinese breakout board. There are still plenty of these PCs about gathering dust if you ask around which can be acquired at minimal cost. LiunxCNC is available free and is easier to install than some might have you believe. I documented the process for upgrading to the development version and setting up for gantry squaring elsewhere on MYCNCUK recently (http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/12687-Auto-Squaring-with-LinuxCNC-v-2-8)

I've only looked briefly at the Acorn website but it does look like a much more modern approach at a sensible DIY price (though conversion to AUD doesn't make it look quite such a good deal down here!) Note that the 'free' version of the software included in the basic package does not allow 4th axis motor pairing and gantry squaring. You need to buy the upgraded version (add $139US) for that.

One final piece of advice I would offer to any new builder is to build dust extraction into your design and budget from day one, including where the extractor itself will fit in your workshop. I did without for a few years and can't now imagine why.

Kit

Crunch
11-05-2019, 02:32 PM
Thank you for all your replies.
Lots to think about.


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Kitwn
11-05-2019, 03:01 PM
Just crunched the numbers and the basic Acorn plus overseas delivery plus the essential software upgrade comes to $710AUD so I think I'm sticking with LinuxCNC for now!

Good luck with the build.

Kit

Crunch
11-05-2019, 06:13 PM
Hi
Any advice on
Uc300eth Ub1 ?
AXBB-E ?
Thank you for your replies.

Ger21
12-05-2019, 02:13 PM
I have both, and both have similar features.
An AXBB-E with a UCSB breakout board on the 3rd port gives you about the same I/O as the UC300-UB1, for about $100 less.

If you need more I/O, you'd want the UB1 + UD1 daughterboard.

The UB1 has a few more features, like 3 relays, and differential step/direction. And it only requires a single 214V supply, where the AXBB needs both a 24V and a 5V power supply.
An 8 channel 24V relay board is only about $15 from China.